Kirk joins in prayer this Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday (28 March), as Holy Week begins, Christians across the country – and further afield – will once again join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

A Cross and a palm leaf

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 15 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

"There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion - such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn't one of them," Dr Fair said.

"The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing' and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.

"It can be hard to keep going when there's no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

"All the more reason then for God's people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.

"If Sunday at 7pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn't been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray."

This week's letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

"As we stand at the threshold of the final journey of Jesus into Jerusalem and on towards the Cross, we find ourselves in the company of those who have gone before us on that journey.

"The ‘great crowd' who enter into Jerusalem are those who gather for the annual marking of the Feast of the Passover. They come to remember and to give thanks for the enduring love of God.

"One of the Psalms used in the Feast opens with the call: ‘O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!' In turn, the Psalmist cries: ‘Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.' (Psalm 118: 1, 19)

"In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem and welcomed, as one ‘who comes in the name of the Lord!', with shouts of ‘Hosanna!' and ‘palm branches'. (John 12: 12-16) The cry ‘Hosanna!' shall soon be replaced by ‘crucify!' and the ‘palm branches' by a Cross, but in faith we believe that ‘the enduring love of God' shall remain unvanquished.

"On this Palm Sunday, we stand on the threshold of a time of renewal within our community and in the life of the Church and we join the company of all God's people to give thanks for the love that endures and conquers even death."

We pray:

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we remember
All that You have done in times past
And give thanks that Your enduring love has embraced even us.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we gather in the company of Your people,
Or in company alone with You,
And lift up our voices to cry: Hosanna!
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we journey
Through the week that is to come.
May we journey in the presence of the One who goes before us, even to the Cross.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we listen to the voices
Who now cry: Crucify!
And may we know it was for us He hung and suffered there.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love endures,
Hear us as we welcome the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hear us, as we wait
For the dawn to break
And for Your enduring love to vanquish the darkness.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. May-Kane Logan, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)